In 2020, the year of the pandemic, many of us Neurolanguage Coaches® have shifted from our previous corporate on-site courses to online platforms, with a new vision of entrepreneurship and the goal of expanding our businesses and target audiences. Starting a new online business can be overwhelming and with so much information out there, we can easily get lost in the process of growing our business. That was how I felt at the beginning of the year when I first transitioned my coaching business online. Over time, however, continuous learning and focus on the tasks at hand have helped me to create a successful online coaching business. Going online has been challenging, but creating an action plan, having the right support, and outsourcing to experts have been pivotal in my success.

Recently, I created a podcast called “English for Entrepreneurs” and getting there was a powerful journey. Meeting and interviewing expert entrepreneurs from all over the world (including our very own, Rachel Paling) who offered their insights and experiences on how they arrived at where they are today. The podcast was intended not only to support entrepreneurs who are seeking to transition their businesses online but also to serve as a listening platform for intermediate/advanced English learners to improve their skills. The podcast launched with 7 guests whose specialties included language learning and some international newcomers who are in the process of building and marketing their online presence. It has brought me many new contacts and expanded my own entrepreneurial mind in a way that I would never have imagined. Podcasts are also a great marketing tool for creating more ideal clients and the guest appearances can also lead to new business and more success.

Many people have asked me how I got started on my podcast creation. Fortunately, I had the great opportunity to work with an expert podcaster who taught me all the ins and outs of putting together a professional and well-edited show. However, there are many other ways to get started as well. Websites like Buzzsprout and Simplecast allow you sign up for free and without a credit card. They offer step-by-step instructions to get your guests lined up, interviews organized, and finally getting your podcast published online. Creating a podcast is truly exciting, but it is important to note that creating a podcast does take quite a bit of time from start to finish.

Once you have come up with an idea for your podcast topic, the next step is to find some guests who you would like to interview and come up with the questions you would like to ask them. Interview questions can be created in a general format and then individualised for each guest. For my podcast, I had pre-interview questions for the short trailer and then modified these questions to serve as a guideline for the longer interview. It is important to remember that being spontaneous with a guest can come across as being authentic and listeners often enjoy this far more than a rehearsed and “perfectionist” approach to interview style. Humour and lightheartedness are also appreciated, especially during these challenging pandemic times.

A typical iTunes or Spotify launch usually has about 6-8 launch partner guests and begins with short 7-10-minute trailers and then is followed by in-depth interviews which are about 20-30 minutes each. Usually, the show is launched with all of the short trailers together and then one in-depth interview per week is released over the next 6-8 weeks. One small tip I can share is, be sure to keep the interviews on the shorter side because people typically don’t have the time to listen to a long podcast.

Contrary to what you might think, you don’t need a lot of expensive equipment to start your podcast. The interviews can be recorded on Zoom with a good pair of headphones and a microphone. You can always decide to invest in your podcast project later once you see how your it goes. Once your interview is finished, you can either edit it yourself or have this task outsourced to a professional editor. One important detail of the podcast is show notes, which you can write under each episode, so that listeners can review the interview content, select specific parts of the interview they are interested in, and jump directly to these sections of the podcast. There are lots of outsourcing options available for getting the above tasks accomplished. While a professional editor can be quite expensive, there are other less expensive options. Fiverr, for example, offers a variety of services with different providers located around the world. For me the questions were 1) how much time was I willing to spend on doing the technical side of my podcast and, 2) how far would it take me out of my comfort zone to get a quality outcome, and was I willing to go there. While I am a true believer in going out of my comfort zone, this was a huge stretch and it gave me great comfort knowing that the technical side of my podcast was in reliable and good hands.

Next, a podcast has music and looping. The music is added at the beginning of the interview and at the end. After these music sections “loops” are added. The loop at the beginning can make some reference to last week’s guest and what or who is coming up in the current episode. The loop at the end concludes the interview and previews the name of the following week’s guest. The loop at the end is also a good place to remind the listener to download, rate, review and subscribe to the podcast.

If you want to follow the podcast ranks in the charts, and see how it progresses, then iTunes is the best place to launch your show. You can also include Spotify and Stitcher a few days after your iTunes launch to broaden your audience. I really enjoy following my show on iTunes and seeing how each episode is received in different countries around the globe. Sites like Chartable allow you to follow your podcast’s growth and even has something called “Unique Listeners” and “Downloads” and shows a graph with an overview of your podcast every day.

Podcasts can also be linked to your website so that all of your shows and episodes can be seen there. This can make your website more attractive and also generate more visits.

Finally, it is important to be clear on your intention and aim you would like to achieve before you create a podcast. As I mentioned earlier, many podcasters hope to build their client base with their interviewees and their interviews are followed up with a sales pitch to buy their program. Others simply want to deliver knowledge and content related to their business with the aim of increasing their target audience. For me, I found the podcast platform a perfect way to serve my ideal clients, non-native English speakers. In fact, 3 of my launch partners, who all have English as a second language, were invited to speak at upcoming events. Being a podcast guest gave them a boost in confidence and motivated them to further share their expert knowledge and experience with the world. I highly recommend that you give the podcast option a go, as it is a wonderful way to inspire your listeners and also unlock the door to new opportunities you might have only imagined before. The podcast platform will allow you to connect and collaborate with other like-minded energetic and passionate entrepreneurs. So, what are you waiting for? The world needs to hear your message now more than ever!